2020-2021 Arc’teryx Procline Carbon Support Boot
Size Tested: 27.5
Stated BSL: 295 mm
Stated Range of Motion: 75°
Stated Weight per Boot – size 26.5 : 1260 g
Blister’s Measured Weight per Boot – size 27.5:
• Shells, no liners: 1021 & 1021 g
• Liners, no footbeds: 267 & 265 g
• Shells + Liners: 1288 & 1286 g
MSRP: $1000 USD
Test Locations: Kodiak and Turnagain Pass, Alaska
Days Tested: 3
• Procline Carbon Support: 2 days
• Procline Support: 1 day
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Procline Carbon Support Boot, which was not changed for 17/18, 18/19, 19/20, or 20/21, apart from graphics.]
Arc’teryx introduced the Procline like this:
“The only hybrid ski boot of its kind, the Procline Boot combines all of the features of a classic alpine climbing boot with those of a lightweight ski mountaineering boot to create a new benchmark of agility and lightness for mixed ice/rock ascents with unmatched support and power for technical ski descents.”
Arc’teryx is making two versions of the Procline shell — the standard Procline, and the Procline Carbon. And both shells are available with either the “lite liner” (~180 g in a size 27.5) that emphasizes “walkability and reduced weight,” or the “support liner” (~250 g in a size 27.5) which has “a reinforced tongue and collar for improved downhill performance.” All liners can be thermoformed for a customized fit.
Here, then, are the four available combinations:
• Procline Carbon Lite ($1000 USD) — weight: ~1190 g in size 27.5
• Procline Carbon Support ($1000 USD) — weight: ~1260 g in size 27.5
• Procline Lite ($750 USD) — weight: ~1190 g in size 27.5
• Procline Support ($750 USD) — weight: ~1287 g in size 27.5
I’m going to be talking here primarily about the Procline Carbon Support, which is the stiffest combination of shell + liner offered, but I’ve also spent some time in the non-carbon Procline, too.
The first pair of the Procline I received this winter was the non-carbon version, the Procline Support. And after just one day in it, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a boot I could use for ski touring due to its soft flex.
By the time I received the Procline Carbon Support, winter in Alaska had largely evaporated, so I have only been able to get a few days ski touring on high elevation summer snow. I’ll certainly update this review next fall and winter when I have more time in them, but I have enough time touring to get a good sense of the basics of this boot.
I should note that Arc’teryx emphasized that we should not be comparing this boot to dedicated ski-touring boots, because the Procline is designed to be in a class of it’s own as a “ski mountaineering boot.” So please keep that in mind.
But with that caveat, I feel that the Procline’s design and performance is similar enough to other boots in its weight category (e.g., Dynafit TLT6 Performance, Scarpa F1 Evo, and Atomic Backland Carbon) that it seems fair — and also helpful to potential buyers — to provide some comparisons.
Design — Materials, Cuff Assembly, Buckles, Powerstrap, Walk Mode
Every Arc’teryx product I’ve owned has had a refined and clean design with well-thought-out features. The Procline is no different in this regard, and has an impressive execution of existing design concepts in addition to a couple of novel features.
The shell is made of Grilamid with a welded-on textile gaiter and water-resistant zipper that essentially seals up from the toe to top of the boot. The zipper is a little tight, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it eventually wore out given that it will be zipped several times per day, often while dirty and under some stress. But so far, it’s working fine. I walked through ankle-deep water on several occasions and did get water into the shell, but only a tiny amount — so long as I moved quickly.
One unique feature of the lower shell is the rubberized area around the toe. I’ve already done a bit of rock scrambling in my pair and have put a couple of nicks in it. I can’t say that I’ve done anything yet where that rubber provided much benefit, but Arc’teryx intends the Procline to be ‘a climbing boot that skis’, and I imagine that people undertaking technical climbs will find it useful.
At first glance, the cuff assembly of the Procline Carbon (which is made mostly of molded carbon fiber) appears to be similar to the Dynafit TLT6 or the Atomic Backland. But close inspection reveals a y-shaped split in the inner portion of the 2-piece rear spoiler. This is meant to allow some lateral movement while the boot is in walk mode, which I’ll discuss below.
The buckles are similar to those found on other boots in this weight class, but as with many Arc’teryx products, the Procline Carbon seem to have just a little nicer ergonomics than others I’ve used, and I haven’t had any issues with them during my time in the boots.
One part of the design that I especially like is the powerstrap buckle that employs a very clever but simple mechanism for quickly tightening or loosening the power strap.
Unlike every other lightweight touring boot I’ve used (aside from the new Scarpa F1 Evo), the powerstrap on the Procline provides a significant amount of extra support. I would happily retrofit these onto any light touring boot.
The walk mode takes a bit more force to activate than those on the Atomic Backland Carbon or the Scarpa F1 Evo (manual version, not the Tronic one) and requires similar effort to the Dynafit TLT6. Once locked, there is zero play in the walk mode, and it feels very secure.
I’ve skied the Procline only with the “support” liner, and have been generally pleased. As with most touring boots on the market, it has a light heat-moldable tongue-style construction, with a stretchy insert over the achilles area to increase ROM when walking. Arc’teryx employs a clever webbing lacing system that secures with hook and loop fastener on the cuff. It’s a low profile design, and it’s the most nicely-executed liner lacing I’ve used. In fact, it’s probably the first liner lacing system that I’ll keep using, since with other boots, I’ve typically jettisoned them quickly after fussing with laces and buckles and the extra bulk.
My only quibble with the liner is that the stretchy insert over the achilles tendon is so soft and stretchy that my heel hangs up in it every time I try to pull the boot on, which makes it a bit more of a struggle than usual. The second time I put them on while out skiing, I tore off the webbing on the back of the liner that’s designed to help pull on the boot. So be careful.
It’s unclear to me exactly why, but every single lightweight touring boot I’ve owned (except for the 16/17 Scarpa F1 Evo) has a significantly lower-volume fit than any comparably-sized alpine boot. The Atomic Backland, TLT6, and now the Procline all have a very tight shell fit in my typical size 27.5, and have me wondering if I should size up. That said, the Procline feels a touch roomier in the forefoot than those other two boots, and is maybe a little bigger overall for the size. I may still do some toe box expansion in all of these boots, since Grilamid usually holds a punch quite well if done carefully. However, I’m not sure if punching the toe will interfere with the Procline’s glued-on rubber rand.
With the Support liner, the heel hold of the Procline is excellent for me, as is the ankle hold. I get no discernible movement of my relatively skinny ankle and heel.
NEXT: Walk Mode, Downhill Performance, Etc.